December 31, 2013

2013: A Look Back

I’m starting off 2014 with a look back at 2013:

My first public storytelling appearance of 2013 was at one of my favorite places to share stories & fun: the Sunnyvale Library!  Every visit is a pleasure, and this time was no exception.
Sharing my stories & nonsense with everyone at the Sunnyvale Library

I began a new year of storytimes for toddlers, preschoolers & families at the Livermore Public Library; and I found a NEW library home in Menlo Park!  I'd been filling in for the occasional storytime at the Menlo Park Library since the previous summer, but in January they made it official, with a Library Assistant position, and a wonderful array of duties. Things started off with a pair of regular storytimes, plus early planning for both the Youth and Adult Summer Reading Programs.
The Menlo Park Library.  I love being here.
In mid-January, as I have the last few years, I spent a weekend of professional development at the Asilomar Reading Conference in Monterey County.  Back in the Bay Area later in the month, I did some school storytelling in Alamo, and performed for the first time at the Palo Alto Children's Library's Annual Storytelling Festival.  THAT was a very fun day!

A full slate of storytimes in Menlo Park & Livermore, plus school storytelling in Menlo Park & Fremont, and giving teacher workshops in read-aloud techniques at schools in Redwood City & Palo Alto. 

I also paid my first visit of the year to Children's Fairyland, one of my very favorite storytelling homes!  When I spend a weekend there, it's two performances each afternoon--and families who attend both get different stories each time. 

On stage at Children's Fairyland

I returned to the Sunnyvale Library this month, as just one of many participants in the library's annual Storytelling Festival.  I also paid visits to Fairfield & Berkeley, as libraries in each of those cities hosted my storytelling program.

There was more school storytelling this month (in Redwood City & Palo Alto), plus all of my storytimes in both Menlo Park & Livermore.

With the end of the school year coming--and libraries' Summer Reading Programs starting--last-minute activity keeps EVERYONE in schools & libraries busy!  My silly "come to the library, read, and win" messages were filmed and played online for the libraries in both Livermore & Menlo Park (we even had a special visitor for the MP shoot).
THAT dude.

I spent a week at Encinal Elementary in Atherton, storytelling & talking up the summer games about 25 classes visiting the school library, one at a time.  A fun, invigorating change of pace!

Also in May, I brought some cool, interactive storytelling fun to schools & churches in Hayward, San Mateo, San Jose & San Ramon.

I say it all the time: summer is always my favorite time of the year—and not just because I thrive on the warm weather & long days: it’s Summer Reading season!  

At the Livermore Public Library, Mondays kept me SO busy, with 3 storytimes.  I'd begin with my "Dream Weaver Story Club" (stories, book-sharing, science & games with grade schoolers), then run inside for an Infant Storytime (those guys love me--it's my round head, I think), and finally return several hours later to finish out the day with a 7pm Family Storytime.  I also had a school-age storytime Fridays at Livermore's Rincon Library, plus hosting all of the special programs I'd booked: music, animal education, puppetry and more.

In Menlo Park, I'd also booked summer programs--including a couple I'd put together as the person in charge of the Adult Summer Reading Program.  I hosted a Plant Exchange, and also a dumpling-cooking program featuring chef & cookbook author Andrea Nguyen.  Both events were huge hits, as were all of the ones I'd arranged for the family programs.  Planning, publicizing, shopping, decorating and all the other details for the summer reading in Menlo Park--as well as learning from & collaborating with the wonderful, wise, dedicated & hard-working staff--kept me very happy, indeed.  It was a very extensive, wildly-successful program.

June was not just "storytiming" and other library-staff-type stuff for me: I was also out & about, storytelling!  I spun my tales at Children's Fairyland, the Campbell Library, and schools in Cupertino & Concord.

A little road trip to San Luis Obispo County!  I enjoyed returning to the libraries in SLO, Atascadero, and Paso Robles (as well as the Paso Robles Library's Study Center) for some summer storytelling.
The San Luis Obispo Library, and some of its creative furniture.

More storytelling closer to home, at libraries (Cupertino & Fairfield), schools (Fremont, Belmont, San Ramon & Morgan Hill), and (a sleepover event at) Children's Fairyland.

My busy season continued at the libraries in Livermore & Menlo Park--and July marked a year since there very first time I'd set foot in the Menlo Park Library for the one-time assignment of filling in for its Toddler & Bilingual Storytimes.  I sure am glad that first visit was a success!

My final storytimes & events of the summer in Livermore & Menlo Park, and a lot of anticipation of "what comes next" (a lot of what comes next is usually immediate forethought to the following summer).  I spent another couple of weekends at Children's Fairyland; shared stories at schools in Alameda, San Ramon, Los Gatos & Pleasanton; gave a Family Reading Seminar in Redwood City, and did some campfire storytelling for a special needs family camp at Camp Arroyo in Livermore.  

In October, I told Halloween stories--inside a Christmas tree showroom!  I spent three Wednesdays at Balsam Hill--seller of upscale artificial trees in Burlingame--sharing stories among a well-lit forest.  An interesting change of pace!

Something else new & exciting that started in October was my Thursday Afternoon Storytelling series at the Menlo Park Library.  The Children's Librarian, ever thinking of how she could use a storyteller on her staff (having previously assigned me to storytelling at local schools & for class visits to the library, and a staff training in adding elements of storytelling to their storytime reading), suggested this new event just for school-agers & their adults.  It's "something cool after school" for the big kids, and it's gotten off to a really great start.  I enjoy exposing everyone to storytelling and folklore, and getting those "398s"--the library's folktale collection--moving off of the shelves!  

The new Thursday Afternoon Storytelling series was covered by the local news site, InMenlo.
October & November brought my regular storytimes at my two libraries, of course, plus I returned to Livermore's Camp Arroyo, shared stories with some scouts in Hillsborough, and spent another weekend at Children's Fairyland. 


In December, all story events in Menlo Park have taken a little winter break, giving me the chance to jump ahead in my planning.  Livermore storytimes also came to a stop mid-month.  Children's Fairyland, however, kept me very busy!  I spent three weekends at the park, with new stories at each visit, including Fairyland's annual "Winter Fairyland" event.  I love being a part of it!

My final school visit of the year was at a huge Book Fair event at a school in Hillsborough.  Such a large crowd, such a variety of ages--and I loved hearing afterward that kids wouldn't allow their adults to drag them away before the stories ran out!  I could tell there were also some adults who would not allow their kids to drag them away before the stories' end.

So what’s ahead for 2014?  January kicks off with another round of professional development in Asilomar--and this time I'll also be presenting!  I'll give the teachers my tips on refreshing their reading presentation for their kids' benefit & their own sanity.  Storytimes & storytelling will resume in Livermore & Menlo Park, and I'll be returning with my storytelling to libraries in Sunnyvale & Palo Alto.  Beyond that, I've got school visits on the books, a little storytelling in Hawaii, and...beyond that?  Stay with me and we will find out together!

Looking forward to the 2014 Asilomar Reading Conference!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you much health & happiness in 2014.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Quite an accomplished year for my favorite storyteller. Keep up the good work! Happy New Year!!!